Awami Muslim League President Sheikh Rashid Ahmed — an ally of the PTI that has resolved to dissolve assemblies in the provinces where it is in power— said on Wednesday that the fate of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies would be decided in a week.

The former interior minister’s statement came in a tweet, in which he also criticised the government over the country’s economic situation.

“Today is the first day of the rescue operation. Institutions staying away from politics is praiseworthy, but institutions also cannot remain distant from their people,” Ahmed added, in an apparent reference to the army whose command was taken over by new Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir yesterday.

“A decision on two provincial assemblies will be made within a week,” he added.

Ahmed’s statement has come a day after former prime minister Imran Khan-led PTI, which has been demanding immediate elections since the party chief’s ouster as the prime minister in April through a no-confidence, confirmed its decision to dissolve the two assemblies on Monday.

There has been no corroboration of Ahmed’s statement by the PTI yet.

The possible dissolution of the two assemblies was first announced by Imran on Saturday at a rally in Rawalpindi, marking the end of his party’s month-long protest march carried out by the PTI to build pressure on the government for early elections.

On the occasion, Imran had said his party would be quitting all assemblies and opting out of the “current corrupt political system”.

Following the PTI’s announcement, opposition parties in both provinces have stepped up efforts to avert the intended move, with reports saying that options of a no-confidence motion and governor’s rule are on the table.

The PML-N’s parliamentary party in Punjab decided in principle on Monday to use all ‘available tactics’ to foil the PTI’s proposed plan and discussed the prospects of tabling a no-trust move against Chief Minister Parvez Elahi, imposition of governor’s rule and the governor seeking a vote of confidence from the CM.

The participants of the meeting also discussed approaching the Supreme Court with a request to take up Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz’s review petition on its July decision that declared Elahi as the provincial chief executive.

After the meeting, PML-N Punjab Information Secretary Azma Bokhari told Dawn that Hamza was going to move the apex court for an early hearing of his petition against the decision in the Punjab CM’s election case.

The opposition in Punjab — the PML-N and PPP — have also agreed to establish contacts with ‘disgruntled’ PTI lawmakers to preempt the ruling party’s move to dissolve the Punjab Assembly.

Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday — for the second time in eight days — to discuss ways to prevent the possible political crisis, a Dawn report said.

Opposition parties in KP have also announced that they will employ all constitutional and legal means to prevent the dissolution of the provincial assembly.

Leaders of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Awami National Party, PML-N and PPP met at the residence of provincial assembly opposition leader Akram Durrani on Sunday night to chalk out a strategy to respond to the PTI’s decision.

The participants of the meeting said they discussed the options of a no-confidence motion against the chief minister, governor’s rule and moving the court to stop the ruling PTI from dissolving the assembly.

Meanwhile, there is speculation about a possible rift in the PTI-PML-Q alliance in Punjab after a meeting between the Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan and Imran on Tuesday since the latter was originally scheduled to meet CM Elahi.

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